I must sincerely sympathize with Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon; he very humbly responded to Rigoberto Tiglao’s Nov. 15 column highlighting the bureau’s poor performance, essentially owing to rampant smuggling, under the present administration (Inquirer, 11/16/12). In the same breath, I must also express my high admiration for Biazon’s untempered truthfulness and courage in objectively reacting to Tiglao’s deeply pugnacious, yet fairly convincing, assertions. Indeed, that was a gallant feat of Biazon never yet exhibited by any of this country’s Cabinet secretaries, past or present.
Even so, those of us who have read the full text of Biazon’s rejoinder to Tiglao will readily admit that, except for the former curtly disputing the latter’s claim that smuggling in this country is at its worst under the present administration—a denial that is of course expected lest his days in Customs be numbered—the good commissioner has never even attempted to dispute the figures Tiglao presented on the comparative value of smuggling under Estrada’s, Arroyo’s and Aquino’s watch, to wit: $3.1 billion, $3.8B and $19.6B, respectively. Truth to tell, I also sometimes personally tend to doubt some of Tiglao’s horrendous pro-Gloria/anti-P-Noy tirades in his columns. I would like to think, though, that the above, unless unimpeachably proven false, should at least be worth every right-thinking Filipino’s concern.
Biazon laments that close to 50 percent of the bureau’s operations are still being done manually, so their apparent work-in-progress solution to smuggling is the full automation of such services. With due respect, is he saying the degree of computerization in the BOC was just too good in Erap’s time, slightly worse under Arroyo’s and worst under P-Noy’s, and so, the relative degree of smuggling has accelerated? That simply defies logic!
As I earlier said, I truly commiserate with the unfortunate Biazon, as far as his performance is concerned. But I would have liked it if he had already ceased saying: “We have been trying our best to improve the BOC management” or “It’s not true we are not addressing the smuggling problem,” and so on and so forth. Practically all of his predecessors had voiced these seemingly reassuring expressions in the past—words of hope and self-encouragement that, alas, have now all proven to be a mouthful of vain, motherhood statements. At least for once, the people would now wish to see, rather than merely hear, relatively more concrete action plans to this country’s smuggling problem. Surely more so the President, whose very own performance rating may be fast deteriorating in the eyes of the people because of this problem. Incidentally, I am raring to hear how presidential spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, will react in due course to this issue.—RUDY L. CORONEL, [email protected]